There are people who still see surfers as salty vagabonds with an unintelligible language of their own. But Firewire Surfboards one-upped this stereotype, as the company snagged the cover story for the July issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. The founder of the company, Nev Hyman said, "I was inspired because not many surfboard companies have had that level of recognition."
The article explored the innovative new technology that the company utilizes, positing that Firewire "blazed a bold new trail in surfing." The board designs stem from years of research, utilizing 'Future Shapes Technology,' which boasts flex memory and rapid rebound qualities.
The company started with Hyman, who built boards in Australia for 35 years. Instrumental in the development of computer shaping, he wanted a way to mass-produce top designs with the precision of machines without compromising quality. That's why in 2005, he started the company that would become Firewire. The process was extremely laborious, but now the San-Diego based company has expanded and has a successful factory in Thailand. Hyman said, "It's just sensational what we've achieved in such a short time."
Aside from performance-based innovations, the company has garnered recognition for their efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their boards. In 2005, Firewire won the EuroSIMA Environmental Product of the Year Award. "It was proven that our surfboards released 50 times less Volatile Organic Compounds than a traditional surfboard during the manufacturing process and the life of the surfboard," said CEO Mark Price.
Demand surged after Firewire took Taj Burrow to a No. 2 world ranking, proving the innovations functional. "On a retail level, it's been overwhelming," said Marketing Director Chuy Reyna. "Wherever there is quality surf, there are usually good surfers, and that's where they sell the strongest."
One obstacle the company has faced is convincing surfers that manufactured boards are on par with the custom boards they are used too. The solution: offer a custom line as well. "We feel that there will always be a segment of the population that wants a board built to their own specifications. If you want something really unique, go to your local board shaper. But we offer subtle variations in customization," said Price.
The CEO explained that creating something so revolutionary has generated a passion that drives the staff. Most of the people involved in the company have known each other for more than 20 years, so personal connections unite employees across the globe. Reyna reflected on the experience, saying, "Being involved at such an early stage and seeing the progress we've had has been very rewarding. It feels really good when you see your accomplishments and see your boards on the beach with satisfied customers."
But these advances are just the beginning. The company plans to continue pushing the limits of board manufacturing. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for the well-established surfboard brands out there and what they have accomplished in the last 20 years," said Price. "We hope that 20 years from now, we'll have that same type of recognition, not just as a flashing fad. It's really important to us to be around for the long term."